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I'm New... My Wife Has PTSD

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by superd, Sep 5, 2006.

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  1. superd

    superd Member

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    Wanted to say hello to everyone. I am 33 and married four years to a woman suffering from PTSD, age 31. Although she has been suffering from it for around five years, she is getting therapy for it and is in the process of confronting the events that caused her PTSD with her therapist. I know it is very hard for her, and I'm trying to be as supportive as I can be. It is hard on both of us...she has not worked in over two years (we have no kids because of this) and my income is limited. I have a high stress job and don't handle stress well anyway.

    I have read through most of the posts on this board, and you all seem like a genuinely caring group of people. I also notice that there are PTSD sufferes on this particular chat/forum, and to them I say that I hope expressing my frustrations with my situation is never taken as frutration against any of you.

    First, I'd like to bitch a bit, if that's okay. (As far as I know, that is okay on this particular forum, please let me know if it is not) I love my wife very much, and I know deep down that we are good for each other. I also know that alot of our marriage has been a struggle, and until recently I didn't know why. Apparently, over that time, my wife's PTSD has really started to manifest in her daily life even though she didn't realize it (or didn't want to, understandably). The ways that it has come up have been through health problems. My wife has suffered from myriad undiagnosable health issues, from her stomache to her head. She has always thought that she has migraines, although no doctor has ever said so definitively, and no migraine medications ever stopped her headaches. These got so bad she had to quit her job, and we were in the ER often for a pain shot. She has been in and out of therapy over this period of time, with various reasons for missing appointments, usually a health problem. I have been to therapy several times myself, and discussed this with my therapist. She said that I should take charge of the finances and that should be my main duty while my wife takes care of her business. Which I agreed to, and which is the problem I am having today.

    My wife seems to expect unlimited patience, understanding and sympathy, but gets angry when I get frustrated or upset with our situation...it's as if I am not allowed to express my frustration with this...its like she doesn’t want to acknowledge that this is affecting both of us, not just her...I am so tired of being the guy who can't possibly understand anything!
     
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  3. Andrea42

    Andrea42 Active Member

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    Hello Superd!
    and welcome to the forum. Im glad you let some of it out!! im sure theres plenty more...so vent anytime. The people on this forum are amazing caring people and they will help you in one way or another. I myself am somewhat new here and i have learned so much already. I undertsand what you are going through trying to be there for your wife and trying to do what is best for her. My husband has PTSD and we have been married for almost 4years now and our marriage has not been good at all (problems left and right) but we do love each other and thats why we will stay together. Lately i am to the point where i cannot stand my husband because he does not see anything! he does not know whats going on, or what he says or does!! its always "i dont know" and its so frustrating to me but i also undertsand now that he is confused and has never been through anything like this. I will let our friends here give you good advise... like i said i am still learning so i am not at that point yet...but i just wanted to say welcome. and if you ever need someone to vent to, i am here..i understand how hard it is when you want to help so bad but you cannot because they have to help themselves.
     
  4. superd

    superd Member

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    Andrea

    Thanks for the warm welcome!!

    In reading your post, something occured to me:

    "when you want to help so bad but you cannot because they have to help themselves"

    That thought seemed to me to also say that maybe "they can't understand what they are puting you through because they have to try and understand what they are going through themselves" Does that make any sense?
     
  5. Andrea42

    Andrea42 Active Member

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    Hi Superd,
    hmm... It makes sense... i think..haha... sorry i am being a bit slow. But like in my situation, or from what i thought at first, it seemed that my husband did not want to stop, sit down, and think about what he was doing and how he was acting..the things he was saying.. he did not notice anything! but now that i am learning more and more about PTS i notice that they aren't always aware of what they are doing or even saying so that just makes matters worse in my case i guess....What i do now is let him know every time he says something mean to me (i ask him if he realizes what he just said) when we are talking and he starts yelling, i ask him if he is angry and would like to continue "talking" later...stuff like that. I feel he is starting to see what he does or says because i point them out and i feel it has helped us a bit. Me, to understand that he does not always notice what is going on...and it lets him see the way he is treating me and the situation (the way he is acting) ahh i hope i make some kind of sense...sometimes i feel as if i talk my own language lol
     
  6. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Hi Superd,

    Welcome to the forum. Most of which you have vented I have some personal experience although fortunately Anthony is not one to be sick - so I haven't had that as an issue. I suggest that in your wife's case the illnesses are real to her and no doubt do manifest themselves in a physical sense, its likely though that this is her body's way of dealing with the PTSD. I have seen Anthony quite physically ill as a result of PTSD, to the point of having to go to bed and rest. It would be hard for you, because as she has only just starting dealing with the PTSD it is unlikely that she will make the connection between her mental and physical wellbeing just yet. The mind is strange and powerful in ways which I don't think western society can quite grasp.

    Its really horrible at the start of people dealing with PTSD, for everyone. Sometimes as a support person, as much as you love them, you would just as easily pack your bags and leave somedays. A couple of things to help you at this stage:

    - Frustrating as it is, you have to let her deal with her illness, you cannot make it go away or deal with on her behalf.

    - Look after you. You already mentioned that your stress levels were high, you need to manage this because it will only add fuel to the home fireworks. I know this one really well. Exercise, sleep, eat. Basics but you need to do them. Alternatives....meditation, acupuncture, yoga etc

    -You are allowed to express your frustrations. Just be selective about the time, place and how you do it. It won't help if you get angry, you will get nothing from them. Those with PTSD generally have emotional shutdown into an artform.

    -She may not like the therapist or may feel that she is not getting any benefit from her. Ask your wife and then look at an alternative if that is the case. If its not the therapist and she doesn't want to deal with her PTSD instead of getting angry at her, see if you can facilitate it to take her for the first couple of times. It will take a bit of coaxing but its worth it. I had to do this with Anthony a couple of times but he got to the point where he could go without too much of a nudge. Be careful though of the fine line between your wife dragging her feet and being generally distressed. Sometimes you may have to let it be, finances or not.

    Hope some of that will help. It is frustrating and it is hard, I'm not going to give you bs about that. In the initial stages of dealing with this illness you will be giving, giving and giving. Try to give some back to you and not become resentful - hard as that is. If you love her, stay and support her if you can. It can and will get better as she gets through some of the trauma and both of you learn how to manage it. Keep coming here and venting, that will help.
     
  7. superd

    superd Member

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    Wow

    What great insight you have...I can't begin to tell you how great it is to talk to someone who has been there and done that...my problem is that I don't have great patience and tend to be rather selfish sometimes, I need alot of attention and support as well from the type of work I do, so it is hard for us sometimes in that sense.

    Ah well. I wish I could say that this is the begining for us, but my wife had to go to treatment several years ago for anorexia nervosa, and that was a monumental strain on our relationship. We thought that was the major issue in her life for years...not so, apparently. I'm just having a hard time remaining patient, even though I love my wife very much.

    Oh...my wife and I are both from Louisiana, but she moved to somewhere north of Sidney during grade school (if you said it I would know it) and lived there for several years until her father was transferred back to the states...she still keeps in touch with friends form there and really loved it...she wants us to go there so that she can show it to me one day. I sincerely hope we can do that!
     
  8. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Nothing wrong with being a little selfish. Guys have got a handle on that better than most women I think and therefore don't always tend to take on other peoples battles. I have often been told that I have a tendency to take in 'every lost dog and stray cat'.

    Anorexia and now PTSD. Still the link is there. Eastern medicine will confirm for you that the mind is the link to healthy bodies. Hopefully treatment will help her unravel some of the trauma so she can heal.

    Plenty of places north of Sydney, I suspect she is talking about the North Shore which are generally beachy suburbs. Very nice place. If you have to live in Sydney, that is one of the nicer places to be. What did her Dad do for a living? Louisiana, now that is a place that I would like to visit......down south if I am right?
     
  9. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Superd,

    Welcome to the forum and glad to have you here. Do you see a common denominator here, in that every time your wife has an appointment coming up, she gets sick? She gets a headache and misses her appointment? This is caused by her anxiety of having to attend her appointment and face her fears. This is a symptomatic way that her anxiety is telling her to be fearful, because her anxiety wants to remain in control, and not allow her to get control of it. You are right, her therapist is right, she needs to attend the appointments regardless. You can read here in most threads relating to sufferers attending appointments, and every one will be anxious having to do so, feel physically sick, etc etc... hell, I used to get the same thing, but it is just anxiety. Anxiety manifests in different ways to each individual.... your wifes being headaches.

    Explain this to you wife if need be, and she must see the importance of attending the appointments. Hell... get your wife on here to chat with other sufferers, because they will help her to begin attending appointments more regularly. I doubt there isn't a sufferer here already that doesn't have a direct correlation to your wifes trauma, ie. rape, abuse, childhood abuse, accident, injury, workplace, etc etc... a very broad spectrum of people already exist here, and every one helping themselves and each other in the process.
     
  10. superd

    superd Member

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    Kerrie Ann, can you elaborate on what you mean by Eastern medicine? She tried acupuncture a few times and said it helped, but then she said the guy was rude to her and she refuses to go back. That is a pattern with my wife...she cannot finish anything she starts. She gets gung ho and tears into something, then quits qithout a word. She joined a YMCA so she could try yoga (at her doctor's, therapist's, and everyone else's strong recommendations). In a month and a half, she's been once. As we speak she is laying in bed for the fourth day in a row with a headache...I asked her if there was any thing else wrong and she says no, just her head. This is just more of the same...I am ready to move on with life and have kids, etc., but we cannot do that like this!! I feel like she is struggling mightily here but I don't know with what...is it the PTSD itself causing this? Her aversion to therapy because of what it will involve? Her refusal to acknowledge that PTSD (as a result of the event) is responsible for most of this? Pride? (she will tell you she has tons of that!) She comes from a large family who did not allow emotions to be displayed...they took pride in "getting over it". After the event, her parents just acted like nothing had happened...her mother has never spoken to her about it to any real degree, though her father finally did before he died a few years ago unexpectedly (hello, another PTSD event???)

    Sorry if I sound selfish...its been seven years of this (4 married) and it is getting so old...we are stuck in neutral, no kids, losing money, and I find myself wondering if this will ever get better...

    Okay. Now that that's over, her father worked for a petroleum company. She lived on the water overlooking a small bay or inlet...wish I could remember the name! We talk about it sometimes...she says the Australians are some of the nicest, most fun-loving people she's ever been around. I met some on a trip to South Africa and I would have to agree.

    Louisiana is in the deep South, and harbors the mouth of the Mississippi River. New Orleans is there, along with the capital, Baton Rouge. If you've heard the term "cajun", then you have already heard about South Louisiana. We've had as many as ten flags fly over the state during it's history, with Spain, France, England and the Confederacy being the most notable. Incredibly fertile land, and the people are much like the Australians in terms of "joi de vivre" and hospitality...come to Mardi Gras and I'll show you what I mean.
     
  11. superd

    superd Member

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    Anthony,

    thanks for the welcome!

    I have discussed things along those lines with her, but she is incredibly sensitive to any thing that could be construed as criticism or taken as a suggestion that she is "doing something wrong". She comes from an extremely prideful family and any sign of weakness is frowned upon...she wants so desperately for her "problems" to be a result of "legitimate" conditions/illnesses..it would mean that she doesn't have to deal with PTSD and, more importantly, the event that casued it. Anyway, those are my observations after seven years of being with her. Not a doctor, could be wrong!
     
  12. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Mate, here are the hard hitting problems with your wife. Firstly, her problems are a direct result of her PTSD, I have no doubt about that. Secondly, she needs to start coming to terms with this now, or sit around and feel sorry for herself, because the facts of the matter are, she is not going to get better if she doesn't actively pull her finger out of her arse and do something for herself. It doesn't get much blunter than that. Please feel free to tell her that from me, and that I am an Australian, and I have PTSD, and I have gotten to the other side of it because I refused to let it beat me. Your wife is in a very normal denial stage, and your not going to like my suggestions to fixing her, but she needs this.

    You are going to need to baby her to get her moving, if it must be that way. She is going to have to wake the hell up to herself and want to actively get herself better, face her traumatic fears and cope with this, because if she doesn't want too, then she will never get better... and I do mean never. If it really comes down to it, she needs a good kick in the arse to be quite honest, and I will give you a secret to PTSD... sufferers cannot be pussy footed around, because they will walk over you each and every time. You need to be brutal, you need to be blunt, you need to be accurate and decisive. From the sounds of it, she needs it to get motivated... once motivated, she needs to then want to actively help herself, because until she does, any counselling or the like is just wasted time and money.

    PTSD is a very tough illness, and those around a sufferer need to be tough about the illness, and not let the sufferer walk over them, around them or sidestep them, you must deal with a sufferer head on, because that is the only way we comprehend things with uncontrolled PTSD. Hell... it took until my wife was walking to wake me up... (that isn't to say you should try that if you don't mean it).
     
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